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The Civil Wars – Poison & Wine EP

Lisa Bentley


Joy Williams and John Paul White – or as they are collectively known, Civil Wars – are back with their new EP Poison and Wine. The four track EP is consistent with Civil Wars rock meets country folk style, opening with eponymous track Poison & Wine. This is the only track on the EP that can be found on the bands 2011 release Barton Hollow.

The rest of the EP is made up of cover versions, each one good in their own right and interpreted beautifully by Williams and White. However, as a fan of the band, one cannot help but feel somewhat short changed. Whilst the cover songs on the album are great one would have hope for at least one new original track simply to whet the taste buds for their follow up album; a snippet of what the new material may sound like.

Overall, the EP is faultless for its production and delivery. Williams and White have perfected a partnership that works strongly and is the crux in the male/female duo relationship both dancing their vocals intimately with the other; a rare and beautiful sound. Due to the latter song choices the EP does come across as slightly self-indulgent. Although these tracks which include Talking In Your Sleep by The Romantics, Between the Bars by Elliot Smith and Disarm by Smashing Pumpkins are original recordings by Civil Wars we are only hearing music they like and not music that expresses who they are, or at least who they are aiming to be. To that end, one can only hope that any future releases will consist of original material.